Convention for merged districts’ community mediators held

News Desk

PESHAWAR: Helvetas Pakistan under its project, Land and Water Diplomacy (LWD), on Thursday organized a convention for the community mediators of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber and Kurram districts intending to provide them with an opportunity to share their learnings and experiences from the ADR training previously held.

The convention was attended by Dr Arjumand Nizami, Country Director, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Francois Zablot, the European Union Representative and EU Counsellor (Counter-Terrorism) of the Delegation to Pakistan, Rafia Qayyum, Assistant Chief, International Development Section, SDU/P&D Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the representatives of civil society and NGOs.

In her welcome address, Dr Arjumand Nizami, informed the participants that political and administrative reforms had been introduced in the former tribal areas to provide access to the formal justice system, right to vote, provision of services and development in the area whereas the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been recently extended to the merged districts.

She stated that the new system was facing challenges as the area had been long governed through a century-old system that denied wider participation and democratic processes, adding that the communities, therefore, needed external support to make a safe transition and to be able to benefit from the new system and the authorities to implement the new system peacefully and successfully.

“The LWD project is addressing these issues by taking land and water diplomacy as a dynamic and evolving process for achieving peaceful, inclusive and sustainable cooperation between the communities and regions. The project is striving for social cohesion for peace and stability in the said newly merged districts through the engagement of local authorities and CSOs in confidence-building measures and dialogue for conflict mediation,” Dr Arjumand maintained.

Speaking on the occasion, Francios Zablot said that the EU was working in 140 countries including Pakistan for promoting peace, security, freedom, the rule of law, gender equality and women empowerment, adding that the former tribal region of Pakistan had suffered a lot due to Afghan war and still the incidents of target killing and attacks on security forces were being witnessed in the region.

The EU, he continued, aimed to promote an alternative dispute resolution system for ensuring peace and development in the region. The counsellor thanked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government for its cooperation and applauded the community and other stakeholders for their enthusiasm and dedication for peacebuilding.

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